My veggie garden is my pride and joy, and there are few things better than planting, looking after, growing, picking, and eating my own vegetables.
When I was still a newbie, I didn’t know about crop rotation or the benefits thereof.
I kept planting onions year after year, and while this worked okay for the first two years or so, I quickly ran into issues soon thereafter with pests and diseases and poor pH soil that negatively impacted the next crop yield.
But now I know exactly what I need to plant after onions and then after that to help keep the soil nutritionally balanced and my veggie yields plentiful.
So, let’s dive in and learn about crop rotation and what you should be planting after your alliums.
What to Plant After Onions?
After onions, plant heavy feeders like tomatoes, chili, winter squash, swedes, winter cabbage, pumpkin, radishes, or lettuce. These plants have roots that help create channels for water and the air by bringing these closer to the surface for the shallow-rooted plants.
What to Plant After Onions
Since onions are light feeders and shallow-rooted plants, I generally plant heavy feeders and/or deep-rooted vegetables after I’ve dug up my ready-to-use onions from the ground.
Examples of heavy feeders are:
- Cabbage family crops (like cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, radish, kohlrabi, cauliflower, and kale)
I’ve also planted carrots after onions. Yes, I know they are a light feeder but planting carrots after onions actually benefits them.
Onions have a strong smell that remains ever after I’ve dug up the ready onions, and this keeps carrot root flies away so they don’t lay eggs and feed on my carrot babies.
Examples of deep-rooting veggies are:
- Lima beans
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
After my heavy feeders or deep-rooting plants have yielded their crops, I plant the soil builders, like peas and beans, and then I go back to planting onions and even other plants in the onion or Amaryllis family, a heavy feeder, and a heavy giver.
What You Shouldn’t Plant After Onions
Legumes, like beans and peas, shouldn’t be planted after onions. There are certain diseases that come with growing onions (and garlic), and these affect the growth of legumes.
The soil-borne diseases will stay on broken roots in the ground, and this can affect the peas and beans.
Asparagus is another plant you should not be growing after or with onions.
Also, don’t plant onions or any other member of the Amaryllis family, like shallots, chives, leeks, or garlic, after your onion crop has yielded. Plant families fall prey to the same pests, as well as diseases.
Thus, rotating crops and planting vegetables from other families reduces the risk of pests and diseases.
What is Crop Rotation and Its Benefits
I almost religiously practice crop rotation now, following the disaster with my soil being unbalanced. Thus, I don’t plant the same crops in the same areas yearly.
When I rotate my crops, I alternate heavy feeders, which are plants like tomatoes, pumpkins, melons, eggplant, broccoli, and more that use a lot of mineral nutrients to grow, with light feeders, which are plants like onions that use very little nutrients.
These light feeders also give the soil time to recover and rest before I plant heavy feeders in these garden areas.
The schedule I follow after planting light feeders is to then plant heavy feeders like tomatoes.
Thereafter, I plant heavy givers, or soil builders, which are plants like beans, peas, alfalfa, and clover that fix the nitrogen unbalance in the soil to help maintain soil fertility.
I then start this cycle of heavy feeders, then heavy givers, and lastly, light feeders all over again.
So in the same planter box or garden bed, I will plant onions (light feeders), and then the next year I will plant tomatoes (heavy feeders), followed by beans (heavy givers).
I’ve already hinted at the benefits of crop rotation, but to recap, rotating your crops:
- Prevents the depletion of nutrients in the soil since light feeders don’t use a lot of nutrients and heavy givers replenish nutrients.
- Reduces pests; if you continuously replant the same crop in the same spot, then the pests that prefer that plant gather there, so moving the crop or planting something else breaks the breeding cycle and moves their food source.
- Reduces fungal diseases as replanting the same vegetable helps the pathogens grow in the soil and increases the risks of spores causing root diseases.
- Improves the structure of the soil as you alternate between deep and shallow-rooted crops.
Frequently Asked Questions about What to Plant After Onions
What follows onions in crop rotation?
Onions are light feeders, so you can plant heavy feeders after the onion plants have been harvested. Options include radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, chili, winter cabbage, carrots and celery, swedes, winter quash, or pumpkins.
Can you plant onions in the same garden area yearly?
It is best to practice crop rotation with onions so don’t plant these edible bulbs in the same spots year after year. Not practicing crop rotation encourages the growth of soil-borne pests and the spread of diseases that negatively affects the plants.
What should not be planted after onions?
Once you have harvested your onions, you should not plant onions or other members of the onion family, asparagus, or legumes like peas and beans.
The Final Onion
Practicing crop rotation is important if you want your soil to remain balanced, keep pests and diseases at bay, and achieve optimum growth for your vegetables.
Onions are light feeders so after these plants have yielded their crop of edible bulbs, you should be planting heavy feeders like tomatoes, pumpkin, or winter squash, followed by soil builders like peas and beans.
Don’t plant onions, shallots, asparagus, and legumes after you’ve harvested your onions.
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Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.